- The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has launched the world's largest public stem cell bank.
- At first, the bank will be offering 300 different stem cell lines to researchers focused on 11 common diseases.
- The institute was approved by California voters in 2004..
In just 11 years, the institute has brought its plan to fruition. Currently, the bank is collecting skin and blood samples from up to 3,000 volunteers. The goal is to genetically modify the sammples, so they can be turned into any cell in the body.
Various samples will be collected, including samples of individuals with target diseases, as well as healthy volunteers. Samples are being collected at several CA-based universities, including UC San Francisco, UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles and Stanford University.
California's stem cell bank is partnering with other institutions, which bid in order to participate in the processing and storage of the cells. Cellular Dynamics International in Wisconsin will be responsible for turning the tissue samples into different cell lines, and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in New Jersey wil handle storage of the cell lines.
This is just the beginning of what promises to be a productive effort aimed at discovering treatments for various heart, lung, liver, opthalmic and neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, autism and cerebral palsy, just to name a few. By February 2016, the California Institute for Regnerative Medicine estimates that there will be 750 different stem cell lines available to researchers---more than twice as many as there are now.